Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Zeb Snyder

Have you guys seen this kid? These are some of the hottest licks I’ve seen in a while. SON!



Thanks for posting! He is extremely good.

Youth is not always wasted on the young. It’s nice to see someone so skilled at such an age. It makes me wonder what he will be playing in the future.

I’m a sucker for triplets… love the section around 1:12 of Monroe’s Hornpipe.

I gave it a closer listen, Mike. I like what he is doing right there too. Little rascal probably knows some scales, huh? :laughing:

Hopefully he stays in Bluegrass, although I’m sure the sky is the limit for whatever he wants to do.

Pretty talented family. I watched some of their other stuff and his little sister (I guess?) can plum saw a fiddle in half.

Just jaw dropping wow…

Haha!!! Heck yeah!!

I hadn’t seen that one Mike. That was SMOKIN’!

Haha that’s pretty impressive!

"hang on sis and I’ll let you back in on the next go round…well maybe next go round…well I’m feeling it, you get it next…had my fingers crossed…got ya!..well there you go I let you back in right when I was done!

My old lady has been on to me to go over and eat at the Loveless Cafe where this was recorded (maybe 10 minutes from the house) guess the way I see it is that I’m gonna have to start taking her up on that offer.

You know I’m not one to hold much back so with that said (and watching this video like 20 times):

I think the kids are “exceptional” but what is it worth to be exceptional? I’m more of a “realist” and view this and think: “Well I could see one being good but not both that good”. So in seeing both of them as exceptional players I have to wonder just how much they sacrificed in getting that good? Sacrificed as they were probably made to practice 4 hours a day everyday, had lessons to go with that and the parents were living through them?

You all know what I am talking about, it’s the “Tiger Woods” syndrome, you know where you raise your kids to be perfect at just one thing to achieve stardom but completely neglect everything else. Wonder if they were allowed to “play ball” growing up or do you think the parents were worried that they might stove their fingers up?

And what if they fail miserably like the High School Fottball star did when he couldn’t make the junior college team?

Just saying!

Oh well I’ve rambled on here and completely lost track of time. I am late in forcing my 12 year old to put in her 6hrs of practice this evening on Differential Equations.

Yeah, I know what you’re saying Oldhat. I had parents that never really forced anything on me other than school. I pretty much did what I wanted and got decent at a few things (motorcycles, basketball) but never got as good at one particular thing as I probably could have because I was all over the place. I like shiney things too. :slight_smile:

I think keeping kids focused on one thing at a time (within reason) is a good thing. I think I heard Ben say he had to practice on the piano, maybe some when he didn’t want to, and he sure has made a lot out of it.

I kinda wish, looking back, that I would’ve had a little more focus. I could have been a contender. :laughing:

EDIT: After watching him again. I would have to say that if a kid obviously has that much natural talent at a certain thing, it would almost be a crime to not make them work at it some. That is going to pay off for him/her later in life. I would much rather play on stage than be trapped in a cubical from 9-5.

Some of the wunderkids are are due to Mom and Dad driving them, but some of it is just natural born, God given talent. I don’t know with the Snyders, but it does make one wonder. On the other hand, I have seen some kids do amazing things with no experience whatsoever. At a climbing gym an 11 or 12 year old came in and I was giving him a hand with learning how things worked. By the end of the day, he was climbing 5.10+, and he probably could have done that right off the bat if we would have begun there. That’s way harder than normal. He didn’t reach his limit and I suspect he could have climbed harder stuff, but I didn’t want to risk injury. I thought he might have been pulling my leg, but his parents said he had never done it before. He was just naturally gifted, strong and balanced. If he stuck with it, I can only imagine that he could have been a top-flight contender (barring injury). I also played music with some guys that their parents didn’t seem to drive them, but they were still freaks of nature who loved to play and picked things up quickly.

Unfortunately for most of us that post on here, our window for having any chance of learning and improving like the Snyder kids has closed long ago (due to our years on the earth). The time to become really excellent is when one is young. I try to remember that when I get frustrated with slow progress… I am not going to be a world class (insert activity) by learning as an adult, so I better enjoy the learning in and of itself. That, and I try to enjoy seeing what the kids will do next.

I’m following you Mike.

I am like you Shawn, I was pretty much “turned loose”. Mom and dad really never concerned themselves with me or “grades” or anything was ever doing. Once I got older I quizzed both of them on it and both said “Hell son we knew you’d be just fine your entire life no matter what, figured the best thing we could do for you is to let you be a kid with a couple chores then let do what you wanted to do.”

I tend to see our youth in a “mixed bag” mixed in a sense that they are always doing things “better” than the last generation, perfecting it I guess but on the flip side there are those that take it to the other extreme of worthlessness and perfect that also.

I think shiny things are purdy also Shawn…been caught in a few monkey fist-traps myself grasping trinkets where I wouldn’t let go.

Lots of kids spend four hours a day watching TV. Better they do something social like practice and play music. I’ll bet they haven’t given up a thing to get good. They’re probably skilled at other things as well, because they come from an environment that supports achievement rather than mediocrity.

Does anyone know what kind of guitar this is? It kinds looks like an Eastman, not sure. Keep hearing great things about 'em. I think he usually plays a Wayne Henderson. Any idears?


I’m just guessing, but that looks like it might be an Eastman E20D. I went to the website and I can’t find anything to disqualify that guess.

I think you’re right. I was thinking the saddle might be different, looks like a pretty long saddle in the vid, I don’t know. That’s a good sounding guitar. I need to get my hands on one.

Good catch on the saddle. The one in the vid looks like a glued in saddle (if it was a Martin). I haven’t ever seen an Eastman with a saddle like that (but the logo sure looks like an Eastman). Of course it could have been modified, but I don’t know either. The mystery continues. Maybe someone will have better info.

About the kids and their upbringing…

We really do not know how these kids got this good. I have to believe that these kids have some pretty amazing talent compared to the average person. The girl is probably just extremely talented, while the boy seems like a prodigy.

I have been lucky enough to teach a handful of students like this in the last 40 years. Out of 4400+ students, I have seen possibly 6 students that were as talented (and I could probably name them all). These were folks who had the ability to be shown something just once and were able to play it either immediately of after one try. And I am not talking simple chord forms here, I am talking about intricate melodies or complex music theory concepts. Zeb’s ability to improvise at the level he does on the tune Sally Goodin is really unbelievable for someone so young. I believe he is essentially at a genius talent level for music. :open_mouth:

Don’t get me wrong, even with prodigy level talent, these kids still put a ridiculous number of hours in on their instruments and deserve serious kudos. But I kind of doubt that they were forced to play music, as they seem to enjoy it so much. And I think they are already at a level that has them cemented as well paid performers for the rest of their lives if they so choose; so their youth was certainly not wasted. I believe Zeb is in the running for IBMA guitarist of the year and the band is in the running for IBMA new band of the year.

Finally, these kids are well beyond good. If they spend a little more time on their singing, I have no doubt we will be following them as top performers/entertainers for the rest of their lives. :smiley:

Hey Doc, good to hear from you! Just out of curiosity, how many of the students that were uber-talented were young and how many of them stuck with it?

— Begin quote from "mreisz"

Hey Doc, good to hear from you! Just out of curiosity, how many of the students that were uber-talented were young and how many of them stuck with it?

— End quote

They were all younger than me… :smiley:

One of them went on to perform with and produce some big name R&B performers (John Legend for instance). One of them went on to LA, produced a half dozen CDs of original material and now opens for big names (Keb Mo, Shawn Colvin, The Doobie Bros…etc). One of them just graduated from college and is producing her 3rd CD of original compositions; even though she is just starting, she may end up being the most successful. One was middle aged when he started and within 6 months of starting lessons was able to read classical guitar music easily and was quite proficient on the instrument after just one year; I haven’t seen him in many years. One of them was a savant and most likely still lives in a group home. I’ve lost track of others; I should try to reconnect with them one of these days.